Friday, February 18, 2011


Logo of the United States Fish and Wildlife Se...Image via WikipediaThe President’s FY 2012 budget request of $1.7 billion for the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (Service) will focus funding on the agency’s highest
priority conservation initiatives, such as the America’s Great Outdoors
initiative, while containing costs through management efficiencies and
other savings.  The requested $1.7 billion is a net increase of $47.9
million compared to the FY 2010 enacted budget.  The budget also includes
approximately $1 billion available under permanent appropriations, most of
which will be provided directly to States for fish and wildlife
restoration and conservation.

“In these hard economic times the Service recognizes budget requests are
very challenging as difficult choices have to be made,” said Acting Fish
and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould. “The investments considered for
this budget will support the Service’s mission to conserve, protect and
enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing
benefit of the American people and the great outdoors they love.”

Administrative Savings ($26.5 million decrease)
In support of the President’s commitment to fiscal discipline and spending
restraint, the Service is participating in an aggressive Department-wide
effort to curb non-essential administrative spending.  In accordance with
this initiative, the Service’s FY 2012 budget  assumes $26.5 million in
savings, built upon management efficiencies the Service began implementing
in FY 2011.  Savings will be realized in several areas, including travel,
employee relocation, and supplies.

National Fish Hatchery Operations – Mitigation ($6.3 million decrease)
The FY 2012 request contains a reduction of funding for National Fish
Hatchery Operations of nearly $6.3 million and 65 FTE.  At several of its
hatcheries, the Service produces fish to mitigate the adverse effects of
Federal water development projects constructed by other Federal agencies.
States depend on these activities to stock fisheries which provide
economic benefit to local communities. The Service has been working to
recover costs from the Federal agencies that built and operate these water
infrastructure projects, and will continue ongoing reimbursement
discussions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Tennessee
Valley Authority, Central Utah Project Completion Act, and the Bonneville
Power Administration.

National Wildlife Refuge Fund ($14.5 million decrease)
The Service proposes the elimination of the entire appropriated portion
($14.5 million) of this program.  Over time National Wildlife Refuges
(Refuges) have been found to generate tax revenue for communities far in
excess of tax losses from Federal land ownership.  Refuge lands provide
many public services, such as watershed protection, and place few demands
on local infrastructure when compared to development that is more
intensive.  Refuges bring a multitude of visitors to nearby communities,
providing substantial economic benefits. Recreational spending on refuges
generates millions of dollars in tax revenue at the local, county, State
and Federal level.  The mandatory receipts collected and allocated to
States under the program would remain.

The budget supports the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative
with $140 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Federal
land acquisitions the Service has identified as having the greatest
conservation benefits, and $15.7 million, an increase of $2.5 million to
support Youth in the Great Outdoors by providing a platform and programs
to orient children and young adults to the importance of fish and wildlife
conservation and encourage careers in natural science.

The budget proposes an increase of $4 million for activities associated
with renewable energy development, including $2 million for the Endangered
Species Consultation program to support development of renewable energy
projects and $2 million for Conservation Planning Assistance (CPA).  The
increase for the CPA program will enable the Service to participate more
fully in priority landscape level planning to assist industry and State
fish and wildlife agencies’ siting of renewable energy projects and
transmission corridor infrastructure.

The budget will also support large-scale ecosystem restoration projects as
examples of the Service’s commitment to a landscape-scale, science-driven,
partner-engaged approach to conservation.

Additional highlights of the Service’s FY 2012 budget request include:

Cooperative Landscape Conservation ($10.2 million increase)
The requested funding increase of $10.2 million will enable the Service to
continue working with partners to conduct collaborative landscape-scale
biological planning and conservation design by completing the network of
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) initiated in FY 2010.

LCCs will continue to act as a focal point for collaborative work with
partners, especially the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Science Centers
to disseminate applied science products and tools for resource management
decisions across landscapes.  This collaboration allows partners to target
resources on activities that will produce the greatest benefits for fish
and wildlife for the American people.  Within the Service, LCCs help
support and augment many ongoing programs, including Endangered Species
Recovery Plans, Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans, fish passage
programs and habitat restoration.

Adaptive Science ($7.2 million increase)
With this additional funding the Service will be able to acquire the
necessary science to make better conservation decisions.  The funding will
be used to acquire risk and vulnerability assessments, conduct inventory
and monitoring, develop population and habitat assessments and models,
design conservation measures, evaluate management options for LCC
partners, and increase our understanding of conservation genetics.

Refuge Inventory and Monitoring Program ($8 million increase)
In support of LCC development and adaptive science management, the
requested increase of $8 million within the Refuge program will be used to
continue building the landscape scale, long-term inventory and monitoring
network that the Service began in FY 2010.

Endangered Species Act Petitions ($3.9 million increase)
The Service also is requesting an increase in funding for the Endangered
Species Listing Program, to reflect the increasingly large number of
Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions being received. Between 1994 and
2006, the Service received an average of 17 petitions annually, covering
an average of 20 species per year.  In contrast, since 2007 the Service
has been petitioned to add more than 1,230 species to the list of
threatened and endangered species, more species than the Service listed
during the previous 30 years of administering the Act. With additional
funding, the Service projects to complete 39 additional 90-day and
12-month petition findings, while also initiating proposed listing
determinations for 93 species.

Coastal Impact Assistance Program
Under the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), the Secretary of the
Interior is authorized to distribute $250 million to offshore oil
producing States and their coastal political subdivisions (CPS) for each
of the fiscal years 2007 through 2010.  This money is shared among
Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas and is
allocated to each producing State and eligible CPS based upon legislated
allocation formulas.
This program has been implemented from its inception by the Bureau of
Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), formally the
Minerals Management Service (MMS). However, in FY 2012, the Coastal Impact
Assistance Program will be transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service as
the purpose of the CIAP aligns more directly with the mission of the
Service.  The transfer will allow BOEMRE to focus on programs more
directly aligned with its regulatory and enforcement mission.
Details on the President’s FY 2012 budget request are available online at .

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